Some people love keyboard shortcuts – producivity guru David Allen (not to be confused with the the late comedian) recommends, as part of his Getting Things Done methodology, that learning a few keyboard shortcuts will make everyone more productive in doing routine things more quickly. ToW #10 highlighted some Outlook shortcuts that can make everyone’s life better, but there are many that apply to Windows and other applications that are worth remembering.
Using the clipboard
Let’s start simply – copy (CTRL-C), cut (CTRL-X) and paste (CTRL-V) apply to pretty much every application in Windows. There’s no need to take your hand off the keyboard and go for the mouse right-click if you’re looking to manipulate text. These key combinations can trace their lineage all the way back to Xerox PARC, where pretty much everything we understand as the modern computer was invented or perfected and implemented (graphical UI, mouse, network, laser printer…)
Did you know you can also use CTRL-Insert for copy, SHIFT-Insert to paste and SHIFT-Del for cut? The handy thing there is that most keyboards have a shift and control key on the right hand side, near INS and DEL keys… so you can cut, copy & paste with your right hand only… add to that the standard commands to select text – CTRL <– and CTRL –> moves the cursor one word backwards and forwards, and holding shift down at the same time selects the text from where you were starting from. So, holding shift, and selecting a few words, followed by CTRL-C or SHIFT-Insert, and you’ve copied them to the clipboard. SHIFT-Home selects everything to the left of the cursor on the current row, & SHIFT-End selects everything to the right.
Windows Key in Windows 7
But Windows 7’s got a whole host of shortcut keys that can make life easy, from WndKey-L to lock your keyboard or Wnd-“+” and Wnd-“-“ to zoom in and out. What about:
· Wnd – rightarrow, which docks the current window to the right of the screen
· Wnd – leftarrow, which docks to the left
· Wnd – uparrow, maximises the current window…
… and the reverse, Wnd–downarrow, restores it again, or minimises it to the taskbar)
· SHIFT-Wnd–rightarrow and SHIFT-Wnd–leftarrow moves the current window between two monitors (if you have them) or between your laptop and the projector (if you have it set to “Extend” rather than “Duplicate”, a choice you get when you use Wnd–P to switch screens).
With a bit of practice on some of these, you can take several minutes off repeated processes like editing a document or an email – just think how much more you could Get Things Done with nothing but some keyboard shortcuttery?
There are many, many other shortcuts – more details here.